Today’s animal care professionals are held to high standards of welfare for the animals in their care. Environmental enrichment is a key component of behavior management programs for all types of animals under human care. Although there is a rich scientific literature on effective enrichment strategies, many applied animal facilities report lacking time, staff, and resources to implement and maintain an effective enrichment program. This workshop will provide attendees with an in-depth looks into how the science and practice of behavior analysis is used to maximize and evaluate enrichment effectiveness to promote animal welfare. Held virtually, participants will be able to directly observe how behavioral principles are being used to guide animal care practices. Participants will learn how to successfully implement enrichment assessments efficiently and practically at world-renowned Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana. Attendees will achieve workshop learning objectives through a balanced presentation of lecture, guided practice, video demonstrations, direct observation, and group discussion. Supplemental materials for reviewing enrichment programs and ethograms will also be provided. Participants will also learn how to conduct assessments, and be guided through video demonstrations of experiments, preference assessments and observational assessments with a variety of species in zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries, wildlife parks, and animal shelters. Attendees will also participate in discussions about the ethical use of these procedures in their respective animal care settings. Participants will learn best practices for designing, developing, and review enrichment programs using individual-level analysis to facilitate husbandry goals for a variety of species. Participants will also learn how to successfully implement assessment and evaluation tools for husbandry strategies in zoological settings. This workshop is well-suited to animal care professionals who want to learn more about integrating the science of enrichment into their facilities and acquire practical ways for doing so. In addition, this workshop is also relevant to students or professionals in behavior analysis/behavioral science interested in learning how to collaborate with zoological institutions and animal care facilities.
At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to:
- Operationally define environmental enrichment and identify ways in which enrichment strategies are scientifically deemed effective
- Identify, review, and critique applications of enrichment implementation practices for variety of species
- Design and implement species-appropriate enrichment strategies with wolves, coyotes, and/or foxes at Wolf Park
- Receive training and information on a variety of data collection methods for evaluating enrichment effectiveness that are both practical and informative
- Conduct live (virtual) observations and collect data on enrichment strategies with wolves, coyotes, and/or foxes at Wolf Park, including identifying individual animal’s preferences for different enrichment strategies
- Recognize and discuss variables to consider to ensure ethical and effective implementation and evaluation of enrichment in applied animal settings
Lindsay Mehrkam, PhD, BCBA-D is an applied animal behaviorist, animal welfare scientist, and doctoral-level Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. Her primary research interests focus on the benefits of human-animal interaction, enrichment, and training for improving the welfare of both animals and people in society. As the director of the Human & Animal Wellnesss Collaboratory (HAWC) and the faculty coordinator for the Six Flags Field Experience Program, her teaching and research programs in applied animal behavior, learning, and well-being have led to grants, publications, workshops, internships, and service learning opportunities in animal shelters, zoos, aquariums, animal sanctuaries, among others. Dr. Mehrkam’s research has published widely in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented at national and international conferences. She has been recognized through popular media outlets, grants, and scholarly and industry awards, including the Association for Professional Dog Trainers, Maddie’s Fund, and the Animal Behavior Management Alliance. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Mehrkam serves as an advisory board member for Big Oak Wolf Sanctuary.
Continuing Education Units
This seminar has been approved for 1 CEUs for trainers and 6 CEUs for behavior consultants through CCPDT and 7 CEUs through IAABC.
Date and Cost
The seminar will be held April 10, 2021. It will be a full day seminar and the exact schedule will be announced soon. The price is $75.
A recording of this seminar will be available for 2 weeks after the seminar concludes.
Cancellations occurring greater than 10 days prior to the seminar can apply 75% of the registration fee to another seminar. Arrangements for transfer must occur by the end of the calendar year. If arrangements do not occur; your fee will be considered a tax-deductible donation. No refunds if cancellation occurs less than 10 days prior to the seminar. Only if the seminar is canceled by Wolf Park will the fee be refunded.
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